Who from the Studio 54 era is still alive -- and those of you who were there, what was it like?
I'd love to know. Seems like so many habitues met a horrible, bizarre fate. Halston died of AIDS, alone, living with his sister. Truman Capote died of liver failure, a broken drunk. Andy Warhol aspirated after fairly routine surgery. Jed Johnson was killed in TWA crash. Steve Rubell died of AIDS complications and did jail time. Dapper Fred Hughes was an alcoholic who succumbed to MS.
Of the big names, Liza is still kicking -- though marrying David Gest was a fate worse than death, perhaps. Bianca is the only one who seems to be stable and actually changed her life for the better, becoming an activist. Who else?
please post some studio 54 glamour
I was only around the John Blair Sundays at Studio 54.
The only celebrity I saw was Margaux Hemmingway who was quite inebriated. I went a dozen times but mostly to dance, not to have sex in the cellar or gallery.
Is Disco Sally still alive?
A friend of mine who was there told me two particular moments which stood out for him:
1) Seeing Christopher Atkins shoot his jizz into guy's mouths in exchange for coke.
2) Watching a line of guys waiting to go into a VIP room
to bang Cloris Leachman.
It was fabulous!!! I recall seeing Streisand, Liza, Iman, Grace Jones (I saw her perform a few times...a great performer)!, Cher (down to earth), Diana Ross (small, a bit grand in a good way & plain looking w/ little makeup, dancing with La Halston), Brooke Shields (elegant, very beautiful & polished), Michael Jackson (he smiled a lot and seemed shy), and a few others. I saw different celebs on different nights. I recall Streisand being non diva like...which was a nice surprise for me. Does anyone else recall seeing Diana & Streisand at Studio 54 on the same night? I didn't see them chatting or anywhere near each other. It would have been a real treat to see them chatting together. I did spot Liza, an elegant Donna Summer in white (I/we miss you Miss Donna!) and Streisand chatting happily. I forgot the lovely Jerry Hall dancing with Grace Jones! It was a surreal sight seeing a 30's Diana Ross dancing with several buff, shirtless blonde guys one night (they may have worked there, but, I'm not sure.) I can't forget the sight of Rick James and his long peter hanging down his leg (he was wearing a bright blue jump suit.) He didn't do anything for me, but, his peter was hot. I think I saw Cheryl Teigs (the polished, beautiful and very famous model) and Muhammad Ali dancing one night. Anyone else recall seeing a very hot, fit and handsome Ryan O'Neal, dancing with glamorous Farrah Fawcett? Ryan was so handsome!!! I can't wait to read what others remember. The music was hot! Cher performed Take Me Home one night!! New York was gritty and very exciting in those years. Grace
Jones was a very exciting Diva in those days! The audience loved Grace! She could easily give Diana Ross a run for her money in star quality, attitude, grand allure and charisma. She truly is/was one of a kind! Streisand was there the night Grace performed! I never saw Streisand again. I was there at least two dozen times. Once I got used to seeing the famous divas, I lost interest in going. The alleged sex didn't interest me because I considered it too risky and a bit scary. I'll never forget that time in my life. I almost forgot, one night Mary Wilson was there with a handsome black man (he may have been her husband.) She was very lovely, energetic and had a star smile and a star manner to match! You go Miss Mary!
Bianca is still with us.
Cher and "take me home" is a classic moment in history
Halston's fall was spectacular. He was SUCH a big deal in 70s NY and then he just fell SO hard in the 80s. Of course much of it was his own doing but still, his decline was brutal.
Halston sold his brand to JC Penny's or something like that. It killed his real estate value.
R10, could you expand a bit on Halston's decline? He's always fascinated me. He nearly disappears from Warhol's diary in the 80s.
r7 Really delivered!!! Thank you for that.
Phi Hartman played him on SNL (which is ironical).
I think the clip is on Hulu.
Roy Halston Frowick was America's first celebrity designer. He was as much an icon of the '70s and '80s himself as were his cashmere twin sets, jersey gowns and love of Ultrasuede. But he was not a businessman. By the time Halston died of complications of AIDS in 1990, his name had been sold so many times that he ultimately had no control over the use of it.
"Halston is the, not one of the, preeminent American designer," says Constance White, fashion director of the new Talk magazine. "He not only was dominant in his time, but his clothing, his designs have stood the test of time."
Halston was the first American designer to capitalize on his fame, becoming a brand by licensing his name on a massive scale.
The Halston name gave immediate cachet to products. In 1973, the designer went into a partnership with Norton Simon Industries, which put the Halston name on a range of goods, from casual blouses to perfume.
Then in 1982 Halston entered an agreement to design clothes for J.C. Penney Co. The exclusive stores that had been carrying his clothes dropped him immediately. Many saw that as the beginning of his personal demise as well.
Though Halston said that he wanted to design for all American women, many believed that the free-spending, free-spirited designer simply needed the money, according to "Simply Halston" by Steven Gaines (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1991).
[quote]Though Halston said that he wanted to design for all American women, many believed that the free-spending, free-spirited designer simply needed the money
I shit you not, the man spent a million dollars - likely more - on flowers.
r12 Halston's cocaine addiction affected his work habits and also affected his professional judgment. It caused mood swings and petty, irrational behavior that turned him into a holy terror and that alienated many people in the fashion industry. It's a much longer and more complicated story than that, but that's the short version.
He went from being the King of NY nightlife and all that was fabulous in the 70s to more or less a broken recluse for much of the 80s. In spite of his downfall, Halston remains the greatest American designer of all time. He really was a genius. But then it all fell apart.
A lot of people blame his downfall on Victor Hugo.
Today a midrange to high end brand can get away with being sold all over the place.
I have heard that Halston tremendously hated Jews.
I worked with one the most nicest people I ever worked with before. I live in California, and this guy was originally from New York. He came from a wealthy famliy in New York, and I asked him if he ever went to Studio 54. He said he got into Studio 54 when he was very young with his partner ,and they were really excited to get in. He said once they got in there, they were completely grossed out and very disappointed. He said there were people walking around totally naked, and screwing each other all over the floor to the point that you had to walk over them. He also said you looked up where the balcony was and there were naked people chasing each other having sex as well, and there were people doing drugs everywhere. He said you name it, it was there. The guy said look, I'm gay and I'm not remotely religious nor am I a prude either, but that place was what I imagined Sodom and Gomorrah would have exactly been like. He said eventually he and his partner ran out of there and they were completely grossed out.
BTW, fairly recently, some guy died ,and he was some how connected with Studio 54. He had original pictures of the rich and famous socializing at Studio 54, and he had various other memorabilia from Studio 54 as well stored in a storage room sitting there for many years. The items were auctioned off on Ebay.
R6, wow! Cloris Leachman! Is that true or are you making that up? Please tell more about her. I can't stand the woman but really interesting gossip. I have heard that she stated in her autobiography that she screwed around a lot? is that true? did she mention having sex at Studio 54 in her book? BTW, I remember she was interviewed once and she said she can't stand fat people.
Did Shirley MacLaine go to Studio 54 and have sex with a bunch of guys? She seems like she would have done that.
I remember when I was a little kid and my mother would order from the Penny's catalog. When Halston had his clothes sold in Penny's it was really a big thing back then. They were turly beautiful clothes for women who couldn't afford his clothes at Neiman Marcus, etc. I believe when he brought his clothing line to Penny's, that is when Penny's started to transform into a better store than it was before.
OP one of the shirtless waiters is still around - Alec Baldwin.
Lorna Luft was a frequent visitor.
Ian Schrager, the co-founder is now out of jail, right?
How often did Marisa Berenson go to Studio 54?
Former Senator Scott Brown (R-MA)
For a very good look at Halston's life and career, check out the documentary "Ultrasuede".
[quote]In spite of his downfall, Halston remains the greatest American designer of all time. He really was a genius.
Only in America could Halston be considered a great designer. Simple drape dresses and some ultrasuede suits make one a genius? Bitch please.
I did like his perfume bottles and townhouse however. Life magazine did a spread ( you can probably find it online in the Life google archive) which showed it and his 'houseboy' - a caftaned black buck. Shriek!
In his autobiography, Scott Brown writes of his visits to Studio 54 and tells of going home with a well known NYC socialite of the day and of waking up the next morning and seeing numerous framed photos of his new friend and her celebrity pals around the apartment . . . but he did not name her.
I was in Halston's townhouse on E66th in 1990 after he died. It was a sad reminder of old glory days. I lived in Park Slope back then, and got to park my '86 Ford Escort inside the garage that led straight into this magnificent kitchen. The built-in minimalistic furniture was still there, as were the great stairs without handrails (a popular minimalistic trait), and the marks/color difference on the walls, indicating where artwork once hung.
Then I proceeded to party with and bang the shit out of the properties' caretaker.
I fucked every single barback in that club over a space of six months, and a few waiters (not Alex unfortunately). It was heaven for a top.
Liza was arrested one night for having sex (giving a blow job) at Studio 54. Her manager got it all 'fixed' before it hit the papers.
There was some documentary about that period where gossip columnist Cindy Adams recalled how, at the time, she was so frustrated because they never let her back into the VIP room.
Looking back, she said she's now grateful because so many of the people she knew that went back there are now dead from or struggled with addiction or disease.
I'm guessing that people who took their careers seriously didn't hang out at Studio 54.
[R14] regaled use with:
"I worked with one the most nicest people I ever worked with before."
[quote]I'm guessing that people who took their careers seriously didn't hang out at Studio 54
Wrong guess. EVERYBODY that could withstand the crowd/noise and was allowed in, went. But you only read about the glamour pusses.
Everyone from Huntington Hartford, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Arab Princes, British Monarchy and Wall Street Power CEO's (if they were recognizable and allowed in) to Diana Ross (hard to find someone in showbiz who took their career more seriously), Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney and Harrison Ford.
The "Simply Halston" bio,by Steven Gaines is one of my favorites.
Doctor's orders: Liza must forget kicking. Today, walking is enough of a struggle. But look how long Mama's been dead, she says.
Old Hollywood also went there. Gloria Swanson, Bette Davis, Shirley Temple and Martha Graham to name a few.
Nightclub life in the 70's was out of this world. None of this boring, hipster bullshit you see everywhere today. The press wasn't up everyone's asses too, so you really got a chance to see stars let their hair down and mingle with everyday people. Can you imagine a former first lady going to a place like Studio 54 now?
Did all the reality stars of the 70s get in?
Most of the people talking about studio 54 were drugged pretty heavily and so those recollections are filtered through the haze of narcotics, alcohol and memory.
I went to studio 54 a minimum of twice a week for a few years. These were the years 54 was at the height of its fame. I never really drank or did coke.
Once you got in the door, it was remarkably friendly. Not mean spirited at all. The door was mean, granted but inside it was a real party. At the top of the chain were the drug dealers/holders/providers, then the celebs then everyone else.
I remember how young and or beautiful everyone was and now, almost 40 years later they are either elderly or dead.
Anything was possible, everything you can imagine happening, happened. Except I have doubts about the cloris leachman story having worked with her around that time she was a food and smoke nazi and she could never have tolerated the smoke.
I love that old jeans ad, "Now EVERYONE can get into Studio 54!"
To the people who went:
Wasn't it hard to get in the door if you weren't famous? Did you ever get dressed up to go and then get turned away? Did you have to wait a long time outside before being allowed to go in? When you were picked to go in, why do you think it was? Was it simply a matter of being young and hot? Were you known on the scene somehow?
I dated an architectural photographer years ago. He took pictures of Halstons apt for a magazine and said there were handcuffs and chains on a wall.
It was a little easier to get in if you were gay and/or with a fun-loving hedonistic crowd.
It was virtually impossible if you looked like a flyover tourist or were wearing suits/office work-clothes. The preppie look was not in at Studio. Not even Hamptons preppie - unless you were someone famous or were Bob Colacello.
To those who've mentioned Alec Baldwin working there as a bus boy, he's quoted as stating that he did indeed work there, but quit shortly afterward because all the sex going on made him 'perpetually horny'.
I imagine the place had its appeal for Calvin Klein.
calling bullshit on the Cloris Leachman story for the same reason r46 stated. Anyone who has known or worked with her knows she is a total smoking nazi and won't be around smoke.
"Alec Baldwin has acknowleged that he was hit on constantly when he was a waiter there, but that he never played around on the job."
What about after his shift was over?
Warhol's real cause of death was covered up so his art wouldn't take the hit.
The man died of AIDS complications following routine surgery.
Warhol died on the same day as David Susskind, robbing Susskind of the coverage his death was due in the NYC media.
[quote]Warhol died on the same day as David Susskind, robbing Susskind of the coverage his death was due in the NYC media.
I hate it when that happens.
R50: If you did not get past the door, you went up the street to Xenon. So many "rejects" went there it became known as "Xerox" and "Studio 27" (1/2 of Studio 54).
Michael Musto spent all night trying to get in to Studio wearing a kimono. Finally gave up and went to Xerox.
It was where I first heard "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson. And saw a couple of Ford models, including Michael Ives.
[quote]Warhol died on the same day as David Susskind, robbing Susskind of the coverage his death was due in the NYC media.
Andy Warhol did not have AIDS. WTF?!?!?
How do you know, R58?
Studio 54 actually copied Le Jardin, which was the first place to have boys on skates in skimpy outfits serving drinks. It opened in June '73 in the Diplomat Hotel on W. 43rd St. You walked through the lobby and down into the basement and you could take an elevator up to the penthouse which had an outdoor area with waterbeds. Only fruit drinks upstairs. A big white marble bar and a white grand piano. It was an amazing place. I moved to LA when 54 opened, and found Studio One, which was supposed to be 54's West Coast Equivalent (but wasn't).
That Ultrasuede doc is horrific, really poorly executed and not worth a look. It's truly bad.
Warhol died in post surgical recovery as a result of hospital neglect after gall bladder surgery.
He had put off the operation due to his fear of hospitals and his gall bladder became highly infected.
It was a matter of the nurses not properly monitoring his recovery. His family sued the hospital.
What about Lone Ranger Klinton Spilsbury saying he passed out only to wake up the next morning in Halston's bed.
Andy Warhol did not have AIDS. I can't believe some of you elderly assholes still pass that blatantly untrue story around.
Diane Von Furstenberg?
Sela Ward is my fave from the day still alive.
R58 R64...What R67 posted is the truth. There are also photos Warhol posed for without his shirt. They are horrifying & heartbreaking. He wore an elaborate system of trusses & prosthetics, I presume to keep his vital organs in place. He was covered in massive amounts of surgical scar tissue. He underwent many surgeries when he was shot three times with a .32 automatic handgun by Valerie Solanas. He barely survived.
R69. I'm one of the "elderly assholes". I'm a 53 yr. old gay man. Please tell me how you know it's elderly assholes trying to make an AIDS rumor happen about AH??
If anything, it seems to me it's the gay men my age and older who offer the most informed info.& anecdotes @ Andy.!?
I've been very interested in his art&life since high school. Have also come to feel like something of a defender(?) of his character. Particularly the tired & untrue bullshit perpetuated by the bitter dregs of the factory scene.
Stop buying into the easy myths (evil user puppet master psycho) and do some research. Especially if you think posting lies started by liars, is the way you'd like to be remembered yourself ? Lou Reed,John Cale,Pat Hackett,Julian Schnabel,among MANY others have lots of honest stories to share about Andy Warhol.
r20, Shirley was too busy demanding a crème brulee, and she wants it NOW!!
If everybody was having sex at Studio 54, why did they bother to arrest Liza for giving a blowjob?
That story never did make any sense.
A pal of mine used to get in all the time. He was and still is extremely good looking, dressed just right very fun to be with and the crowd he hangs with is the same. He would just go arm in arm with his equally stunning boyfriend and march right in.
[quote]Scott Brown writes of his visits to Studio 54 and tells of going home with a well known NYC socialite of the day
I'm so touched that he remembers it as fondly as I do!
Warhol didn't have AIDS. He hadn't had sex since maybe 1952.
THANK YOU R77!
[quote]Say all you will about Liza, but she's a survivor
Still working AND in a very hip TV show: Arrested Development
I'd love to go to dinner with her and Carrie Fisher! Oh, the stories! (Old and new)
Take Liza to Orso's. She loves the liver and onions at Orso's.
A friend who was in THE ACT with Liza said they'd stay until Studio 54 closed.... then they'd go for an early breakfast. Liza would have her driver drop off my friend but first they'd stop at her apartment.. Waiting in the lobby would be Kay Thompson. Godmother Kay and Liza would then proceed to go shopping... no sleep for Liza.
No wonder she missed some performances of the show.
The famous photo of an elephantine Liz Taylor was taken as she arrived at Studio 54. Liz had been out of the public eye for a while and people were shocked at how fat she'd gotten. This photo was published in newspapers and magazines all over the world.
Streisand made an appearance but she was hardly a Studio 54 regular.
Dear R69,Blatantly untrue my fucking ass. I bartended on the Upper East Side at the time and the head of New York Hospital and his wife, a NY judge, who was also a major lush, were regulars three nights a week after dinner. He told the story several times over the months following Warhol's death, both to me, and to friends he would come in with. Warhol's death was from complications from AIDS, not a botched operation or hospital neglect. The story was never released for fear of tainting his multi-million dollar art collection and works already on sale. That's the way those things work, youngsters, and it's about time you came around to get into your thick heads.
R86 (Charlie ?) YOUR story is bullshit. The hospital settled a huge amount of money to Andy Warhol's family (the litigants!).
If Andy had died from complications of AIDS there would've been no basis for a lawsuit. His surgery was supposed to be routine (gallbladder ?). The only reason there's any debate is that the terms of the settlement are confidential.
But I had also heard he aspirated.
Also bitch,I don't care for your fucking tone.
yeah, it's charlie and his bullshit!!!
Also the "Head of New York Hospital" would have to be retarded to leave his hospital open to lawsuits by discussing ANY patients case publicly. Never mind the privacy of the most famous artist in the world! WTF??!!
Actually, you are both wrong about Warhol. It was not AIDS, though every gay man who had sex seemed to be getting the disease at that time. Nor was it exactly the fault of the hospital nurses.
Warhol insisted on having his own private nurse; the hospital agreed without a second thought. It was she who screwed up the injection, consequently the rules for private nurses changed dramatically - no matter who you are, the hospital's staff takes precedence. Otherwise it will be their (the hospital's) reputation that turns to crap.
Back to Studio 54:
Baryshnikov, then at the height of his sexual prowess, was THE stud of the day. He screwed Liza and many others in the club.
I went only once, after my high school prom in 1982. Of course the glory days were long since over, otherwise Brooklyn prom kids, even from Poly Prep Country Day School, would never have been admitted.
Finally, regarding XENON. The original structure was essentially destroyed, but the façade was retained. It now houses the current production of THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL in the Stephen Sondheim theater! Of ourse the original building was a theater, but I find it somehow very apt that in a few decades the Xenon location transformed itself from a sex drenched pulsating disco into a (shoddy) theater housing a lovely play by Horton Foote starring a woman in her eighties.
Hey, Stephen must have gone to Studio 54, right?
One more lady who went to Studio 54 often was Gloria Vanderbilt - I believe Anderson was admitted a few times as well.
Bob Colacello's book delves into the circumstances surrounding Andy's death....rather tackily, he includes a postmortem chat with AW's doctor, Doc Denton Cox, who basically said that Andy hadn't been sexually active in many, many years. Interestingly, Doc Cox was later burned to death (literally) by a shady one-night stand. He lived after the attack and tried to pass it off as a failed burglary...but nobody bought it. Then he died.
Some people just love to feel that they have insider information or some sort of clear insight that others lack, r101.
See also: NYers, DL-NYers, gay men, etc etc etc. Meh, you'll hear such things from time to time.
At 54 everyone knew that Bea's cock was bigger than Irene's.
Betty Ford at Studio 54? I didn't know she was a party drunk, I thought she was a private drunk.
Yes, Betty Ford visited Studio 54 after she was First Lady. There are lots of photos of that night. This one is my favorite.
Yes, R118, Lauren Hutton was seen openly making out with many women at Studio 54.
Did Halston and Calvin Klein get fucked by the hunky bartenders on site?Or did they, and other wealthy gay clientele, take the boys home?
Oh you could not have imagined the haughty mannerisms and faux sophistication of those two grandees Liza and Halston during their Olympic Tower/Studio 54/Townhouse daze. We all thought Liza was rainbow-bound back then, just like her mother.
Debbie Harry - still alive, still fabulous.
Thanks for the info, r121.
I've read that Halston could be insufferable during the height of his fame in the 54 era. VERY grand and snotty. He apparently mellowed in the 80s after he wasn't hot anymore and a lot of people dropped him.
Betty Ford was very hip- a former Martha Graham dancer, ardent supporter of the ERA, and a woman who changed the way alcoholics were treated. Love her.
I remember that Freddi Mercury used to come in, he enjoyed the male talent but I don't think the place was brutal enough for his tastes. Seemed more like something to keep his Q rating up. 54 was full of young beautiful people and powerful people, not butch biker gods.
Fran Drescher cruised hoping to rope someone from Hollywood into plugging her. Hubby went off with the boys, her marriage was a best-friends/no-sex one from the start. She wrangled Suzanne Somers when she was hot on Three's Company--Hamel would come in with Suzanne and Fran but would find other pleasures while the girls played with each other. Fran was as gay as her husband, and Suzanne's relationship with Fran seemed more intimate than with husband Hamel.
Every now and again someone like R128 comes along and makes DL worthwhile.
"Who from the [eighties] is still alive"???????
This is fairly reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's comments in 1985 at the Bitburg military cemetary, where he asserted that there were very few Germans alive who remembered the second world war.
For the benefit of people like OP, I should explain that Ronald Reagan was a president of the United States. On the occasion of his visit to Germany in 1985, he said that very few Germans were alive who remembered the war, which was a big, big fight that had ended forty years before. Presumably because he was himself unable to remember anything more than five or six years in the past, he assumed that people in their sixties would not remember their own participation in the armed conflict. He was wrong.
Similarly, OP, there are those of us who remember what happened 30 years ago. I do hope that within a few minutes I shall not remember you.
Was the Studio 54 Marisa Berenson's favorite place?
No; Marisa liked a little spot directly behind her left ear.
What spot was that, r132?
The reason why I asked, r132, because she really fit right in at the Studio 54 along with the beautiful people who were elite. After all, she was the socialite of her day after her modeling career ended.
R86 is not me- I don't read of post very much on DL anymore for obvious reasons (posts following R86).
Warhole did not die of HIV- he died of post operative complications from a cholecystectomy in the Harkness Pavillion at Presbyterian Hospital. I believe he had a private duty nurse who did not respond to a "code" as per normal procedure. Very tragic story. If he had a staff RN he would probably have not died.
I spent some time in Studio- loads of fun, much of it covered well here. It's precursors were Hurrah and Flamingo- the party/client lists from both I believe. Le Jardin was similar as others have noted, but I am pretty sure Studio was put together with Carmen Delessio's (sp?) party lists, a mix of celebrities and the cream of the male modeling world (Ford, Zoli etc) and their friends.
No more posting for me on DL- much to vicious these days.
P.S. Steve R. and Ian S. "owners" of Studio 54were previously the management at Steak Lofts in the UN Plaza and another site in CT!!
R124. But it sounds like Deborah Harry might be ready to shut down soon. She's 67 or something, rising the buses for free.
Harry is 68 and is retiring from music, R137.
Deborah Harry is a bus-rising supergranny!
Liza doesn't do much kicking with two fake hips and a fake knee. She's started working with clay.
And I'm dead.
Has anyone on here remember going to the Studio 54 back in the day?
I'm not dead.
I'd rather talk about The Starck Club...
R118 and R121- re Lauren Hutton: that sure would be news to me, I knew her in that era, met her husband at the time, a "banker" who lost most of her fortune for her. I sure never saw her making out with women at Studio, nor do I know anyone who makes that claim.
r146 = Charlie. You dropped a name on your way out.